You have probably noticed that when preparing a worship song set, there is usually one song that stands out as the “key” song for that specific set. It could be an upbeat opening song that highlights God’s greatness and/or glory, or a more subdued and intimate song in the middle of the set that focuses on our need for His mercy. Regardless of what type of song that the key song happens to be, it’s almost always the center point or theme for that time of worship. And one way to increase the impact of the desired theme in worship is to create a reprise or tag of the key song somewhere in the worship set. The word “reprise” is simply defined as, “a repetition of a phrase, or a return to an earlier theme.”
The first step is to identify the specific phrase or section of the key song (quite possibly the chorus) that best captures the essence of the theme you want to reprise. Second, review the entire song set and look for the best place to insert the reprise. This could happen at the end of the worship set or possibly after one of the songs in the middle of the set. Theoretically, the reprise could even happen in several places within the worship song set. However, more often than not, it should occur just once, in a strategic location.
Here’s an example of how I’ve utilized a reprise to emphasize a specific theme in worship. Recently, I used Kathryn Scott’s song “Hungry” in a Sunday morning worship set. I positioned it near the end of the worship time to be a more reflective song that would elicit a response from the congregation. As we were singing, it really became obvious that the four lines of the chorus connected firmly with the congregation and that God was using those words significantly for a good number of worshippers that morning. Even as we moved on into the next song, I felt as if God was continuing to highlight the lines of the chorus in my heart. So as we neared the end of the current song we were singing, I began to sing the chorus of “Hungry” again. I just simply tagged it on to the end of the last song of the set.
In the example above the impetus to reprise the chorus happened spontaneously in the midst of worship. Sometimes this is case. The Spirit speaks to you in the midst of worship and guides you into the very heart of God for that moment. Other times, I’ve planned out a reprise ahead of time. Either way, the key is to find the right lyrics that capture the essence of the theme (God’s heart) for that time of worship and then to reprise it. When used appropriately, the reprise can be quite powerful and help to take the worship experience to a deeper level.
Brent Helming has been involved in Pastoral and Worship Ministry for over 20 years. He has traveled both nationally and internationally leading worship and teaching at Churches and conferences. He has written numerous worship songs such as “Your Beloved”, Jesus Lead On”, “Rock of My Salvation” and “God of All Splendor”, along with an interactive work book titled “Hot Tips for Worship Leaders”.